104 dead in massacre in Ethiopia
UN must investigate eyewitness-reports! (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses the European Union (EU) and the German government of acquiescing to new human rights violations against the Oromo and the Amhara by not commenting on the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in Ethiopia. “No reaction – four days after the massacre in Ethiopia! This is a clear sign of double standards regarding human rights,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s Africa consultant, in Göttingen on Wednesday. “Even if the EU has strategic interests in Ethiopia, as well as concerns regarding migration and development issues, there must be a reaction. And the EU must rethink the cooperation! If Europe remains silent, Ethiopia will interpret this as consent to the brutal crackdowns on peaceful protesters.”
According to recent information, 104 members of the Oromo and the Amhara lost their lives in crackdowns on protests between Friday and Sunday of last week – most of them last Saturday, when members of the Oromo gathered in at least 49 towns in the Oromia region to protest against the government policies. 67 Oromo got killed in the crackdowns. Also, 30 Amhara got killed during protests in Bahir Dar and seven Amhara in Gonder. Both cities are located in the Amhara region. Until Wednesday morning, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the European External Action Service had issued an official statement concerning the excessive police brutality.
The human rights organization is calling on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to verify credible eyewitness reports according to which injured people were denied treatment in hospitals, and warehouses of state enterprises in the metropolitan area of the capital, Addis Ababa, were used as illegal makeshift prisons. Before and after the protests in Oromia, there had been a wave of arrests. In some cities – in Ambo, for example – the security forces had searched every single house in certain districts, as an attempt to arrest suspected protesters.
More than 20,000 Oromo have been detained for political reasons since November 2015. Most of them are now imprisoned in remote army camps, isolated from the outside world. For the Ethiopian security forces, it is common practice to use illegal prisons.
According to Delius, it would be bitter irony for the Oromo if the allegations about the use of warehouses as illegal detention centers were true. During the last few years, these industrial buildings were set up on the land of the Oromo, against their will. Their protests are also against land grabbing.
Header Photo: Unicef via Flickr